Summer Wine Ninebark For Landscaping




December 8, 2023

Summer Wine Ninebark For Landscaping

Introduction to Summer Wine Ninebark

Summer Wine Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) is a versatile and attractive deciduous shrub that has gained popularity in recent years for its stunning foliage, beautiful blooms, and easy maintenance. It's a perfect addition to any landscape design, providing both visual interest and functionality. In this article, we'll explore the characteristics of Summer Wine Ninebark, its benefits for landscaping, ideal growing conditions, design ideas, and care tips.

Characteristics of Summer Wine Ninebark

Summer Wine Ninebark planted


One of the most striking features of Summer Wine Ninebark is its deep burgundy foliage. The leaves are lobed and have a somewhat serrated edge, creating a unique and eye-catching texture. The deep color of the leaves contrasts beautifully with the bright flowers and adds depth to any landscape.


From late spring to early summer, Summer Wine Ninebark produces clusters of small, pinkish-white flowers that attract pollinators such as butterflies and bees. The flowers give way to red seed capsules that persist into the winter months, adding even more interest to the shrub.

Size and Shape

Summer Wine Ninebark is a compact shrub, reaching heights of 4 to 6 feet and a similar spread. Its naturally arching branches create a rounded, somewhat vase-like shape that can be easily pruned to maintain its size and form.

Benefits of Using Summer Wine Ninebark in Landscaping


One of the primary reasons for the popularity of Summer Wine Ninebark in landscaping is its low-maintenance nature. This hardy shrub is resistant to common pests and diseases and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. It's also drought-tolerant once established, making it an excellent choice for water-wise landscapes.

Year-Round Interest

Summer Wine Ninebark offers year-round visual interest, with its deep burgundy foliage in spring and summer, followed by vibrant flowers and red seed capsules. In the fall, the leaves turn an even deeper shade of burgundy, and the exfoliating bark adds textural interest in the winter months.

Wildlife Attraction

By planting Summer Wine Ninebark, you'll be providing a valuable resource for local wildlife. The flowers attract pollinators, and birds enjoy feasting on the seeds during the winter months.

Ideal Growing Conditions for Summer Wine Ninebark

Soil Requirements

Summer Wine Ninebark is not picky about soil conditions and can grow in a wide range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soils. However, it prefers well-drained soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0. If your soil is heavy clay, consider amending it with organic matter to improve drainage.

Sun Exposure

For the best foliage color and overall health, plant your Summer Wine Ninebark in a location that receives full sun to partial shade. Full sun will result in the most vibrant leaf color, while partial shade may cause the foliage to appear more greenish-burgundy.


While established Summer Wine Ninebark shrubs are drought-tolerant, they will benefit from regular watering during their first few years of growth. Ensure the soil remains evenly moist, but not waterlogged. Once established, the shrub will require less frequent watering, making it a suitable option for low-water landscapes.

Design Ideas for Summer Wine Ninebark in Landscaping

Closeup of a summer wine ninebark

Mixed Borders

Incorporate Summer Wine Ninebark into mixed borders alongside perennials and other shrubs with contrasting foliage colors and textures. The deep burgundy leaves create a stunning backdrop for plants with bright green or silver foliage, as well as those with vibrant flowers.

Focal Points

The eye-catching foliage and flowers of Summer Wine Ninebark make it an excellent choice for creating focal points in your landscape. Plant a single specimen in a prominent location, or group several together to create a striking display.

Foundation Plantings

Summer Wine Ninebark can be used as a foundation planting to add visual interest and color to the base of your home. Its compact size and rounded shape make it an attractive choice for planting near entryways or along the sides of your house.

Pruning and Care Tips

Prune Summer Wine Ninebark in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Remove any dead, damaged, or crossing branches, and thin out the center of the shrub to promote air circulation. You can also shape the shrub by cutting back the previous year's growth to a set of healthy buds.

Monitor your shrub for any signs of pest or disease issues, and treat them promptly to maintain the overall health of your plant.

Summer Wine Ninebark is a fantastic addition to any landscape, offering year-round interest, low maintenance, and multiple design possibilities. By providing the right growing conditions and the occasional pruning, you'll be rewarded with a stunning and resilient shrub that enhances your outdoor space for years to come.

Using Summer Wine Ninebark in Slope Stabilization and Erosion Control

Planting Techniques

Summer Wine Ninebark's deep root system makes it an excellent option for slope stabilization and erosion control. To effectively utilize this shrub in these applications, plant it in a staggered pattern along the slope, ensuring each plant is spaced at least 4 to 6 feet apart. This will allow the roots to spread and interlock, providing better soil retention and slope stabilization.

Mulching and Water Management

To further improve erosion control, apply a 2 to 3-inch layer of organic mulch around the base of each Summer Wine Ninebark plant. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth, all of which contribute to more effective erosion control.

In addition, consider implementing water management strategies such as swales, terraces, or rain gardens to slow and direct water flow, reducing the potential for soil erosion around your plantings.

Companion Plants for Summer Wine Ninebark

When designing your landscape, consider pairing Summer Wine Ninebark with a variety of companion plants to create a cohesive and visually appealing garden. Some suitable companion plants include:


  • Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia): The silvery foliage and airy lavender-blue flowers of Russian Sage contrast beautifully with the deep burgundy leaves of Summer Wine Ninebark.
  • Catmint (Nepeta): Catmint's gray-green foliage and lavender-blue flowers complement the rich foliage of Summer Wine Ninebark while attracting pollinators.
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia): The bright yellow flowers of Black-eyed Susan create a stunning contrast with the dark foliage of Summer Wine Ninebark.

Ornamental Grasses

  • Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum): The upright form and airy seed heads of Switchgrass add movement and texture to the landscape, working well alongside Summer Wine Ninebarzk.
  • Fountain Grass (Pennisetum): The graceful, arching form of Fountain Grass pairs well with the rounded shape of Summer Wine Ninebark, while the feathery seed heads add textural interest.


  • Spirea (Spiraea): Many Spirea cultivars feature bright green foliage and clusters of pink or white flowers that contrast nicely with the dark leaves of Summer Wine Ninebark.
  • Bluebeard (Caryopteris): The blue flowers and silvery-gray foliage of Bluebeard create a striking combination with the deep burgundy leaves of Summer Wine Ninebark.

By incorporating these companion plants into your landscape design, you can create a visually engaging and harmonious garden that showcases the beauty of Summer Wine Ninebark.

FAQs About Summer Wine Ninebark

Is Summer Wine Ninebark deer-resistant?

Yes, Summer Wine Ninebark is considered deer-resistant, making it a great choice for landscapes with deer populations.

Can Summer Wine Ninebark be grown in containers?

Yes, this compact shrub can be grown in large containers, making it a versatile option for patios, balconies, or other small spaces.

How fast does Summer Wine Ninebark grow?

Summer Wine Ninebark has a moderate growth rate, typically growing 12 to 18 inches per year.

Are there any other cultivars of Ninebark with similar characteristics?

Yes, there are several other Ninebark cultivars with colorful foliage, such as 'Diablo,' 'Center Glow,' and 'Little Devil.'

Is Summer Wine Ninebark toxic to pets?

Although not considered highly toxic, ingestion of large quantities of plant material may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in pets. Keep an eye on your pets around the shrub to prevent any issues.